Hyderabad: An unlikely triumvirate comprising former Indian opener and Captain, Sunil Gavaskar, popular telugu fim actor Akkineni Nagarjuna and former chairman of the BCCI's juniot selection committee, V Chamundeshwarnath have formed a consortium that has bought Mumbai Masters, the Mumbai Indian Badminton League (IBL) franchise.
Chamundeswarnath and Nagarjuna have ploughed in the money while Gavaskar holds equity. “He is the brand ambassador of the franchise and also a partner,” Chamundeswarnath, who is president of the Hyderabad District Badminton Association, told this newspaper on Wednesday.
Nagarjuna already co-owns the Superbike Mahi Racing Team with Indian cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
The team is gearing up for the auction to be held on July 22 in Delhi where each franchisee will have a Rs.1.5 crore cap to purchase 11 players that make up the squad.
The icon players have been placed at a base price of $25,000.
Ties will comprise best-of-five matches, one each in men's singles, men's doubles, women's singles, women's doubles and mixed doubles.
The prize money for the first edition has been set at Rs. 5 crore, with plans to double it the next year. Apart from team sponsorship, the franchisees stand to gain 50 per cent of the central sponsorhip including television rights which have been sold to Sony .
Franchisees will also get 60 per cent of local ticketing revenues.
Gavaskar buys stake in Mumbai's IPL franchise
The Indian Badminton League's glamour quotient has gone up by quite a few notches with a consortium involving former cricket captain Sunil Gavaskar and Telugu actor Nagarjuna buying the event's Mumbai franchise.
The consortium also includes former manager of the Indian cricket team and businessman Vankina Chamundeswaranath. The team will be called Mumbai Masters.
"I am proud to be associated with badminton which I've always admired and passionately followed and played a bit as a fan. The sport has produced legends and recorded many milestones for India and I hope my association with the Indian Badminton League proves to be a worthy contribution to the great sport of badminton," Gavaskar said in a release.
The USD one million league is set to launch on August 14 with some high-voltage action expected between PVP's Hyderabad Hotshots and BOP Group's Banga Beats.
A total of 90 matches will be played in the IBL which will feature six franchises.
The IBL will be held in six cities from August 14-31. The tournament will feature some of the top-50 players in the world and will be played under the Sudirman Cup format and televised LIVE to more than 100 countries.
Mumbai, Pune, Hyderabad, Delhi, Bangalore and Lucknow are the six cities that will feature in the first edition of IBL.
Each franchise will host a two-day leg and the top four franchises will clash in the semifinals and the winners will meet in the grand final on August 31 in Mumbai.